If The Tyrants Want War…
A Communiqué from South of the Equator
By Al Giordano
March 24, 2003
I wrote this for you the other day….
New reports are now posted on Narco News. This is one…
SAO PAULO, BRASIL; MARCH 21, 2003: Autumn begins South of the Equator. Today’s Folha de Sao Paulo, the “newspaper of record” in this megalopolis of ten-and-a-half million Brazilians, shouts, “Attack of the Empire: USA begins land invasion and increases bombings of Baghdad.”
I refuse to read it. George W. Bush wants you and me to drop everything and pay attention to his global tantrum. I decline to waste my time on his “war.” It is not even an Authentic War, because a war has a winner and a loser. Gulf War II, like his father’s Gulf War I, will only have losers. I want no part of it, not even as a spectator.
This “war” is a media show. The bravest soldiers refuse to fight in unjust wars. I refuse to watch. I admit: I think less of the gullible people who sit entranced in front of the television or the computer screen obsessed with this “war,” whether pro or con. Don’t they see? The “war” is being held for them, for their attention, to bring them into power’s trance, to keep them from more life affirming activities. This war brings a bombardment of their consciousness, too, to keep them stuck in place. What if they held a war and nobody watched? Politicians would wage fewer wars.
And that is all I have to say about Gulf War II.
THE SO-CALLED WAR ON DRUGS is a real war. It has a winner and a loser. Drugs won. Drugs keep winning. The losers are democracy, human rights, sovereignty, health, economy, the people, the land… we are the losers. Drugs – and the white-collar narcos in suit and tie who launder prohibition’s profits – are the winners. Everybody knows it. Few dare to say it.
The other day we met with some of the very top officials of the PT, the Workers Party of President Lula da Silva here in Brazil, to talk about the drug war. “We know we need a new drug policy,” one of them told Narco News Director of Strategy Adriana Veloso and I over coffee. “The only consensus we have is that we want our policy to be different than the current policy imposed by the United States.”
And so, kind readers, my travels begin in the land of this awakened lion called Brazil. I am here to listen, to ask questions, to learn. In the coming weeks, I will be speaking with people from all over this vast country, with political and social leaders, with artists and academics, with organizers and activists, with real people in the giant cities and small towns, walking through the favela slums of Rio de Janeiro and the jungle paths of the Amazon… looking for the news, for the opportunities to make news… not phony “war news,” but, rather, Authentic News, which is, more often than not, the news that doesn’t get reported by the control rooms behind the screens.
LAST WEEK HERE in São Paulo I was invited to give a speech to the convention called Mídia Tática Brasil (Tactical Media Brazil), titled: “The Masses vs. the Media: From May 1968 in Paris… to April 2002 in Caracas… to the Immediate Present.”
Authentic Journalist Karine Muller was there and today reports on those events to you in Portuguese and English. The full text of my remarks will also be posted in the coming days in English, Portuguese and Spanish:
Now, a few announcements…
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK and offer my public appreciation to Gary Webb for having taken the helm of Narco News as Guest Editor last month, long enough so that I could duck down under the Equator and begin this journey. Gary has done his job and the bastón now passes back to me. Gary Webb is an Authentic Journalist who will always have a home for his top shelf investigative journalism about the drug war on Narco News. Please join me, kind readers, in thanking him for his service at a key moment.
I WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME our newest member of the Narco News Team, Adriana Veloso of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, who has been your international Director of Strategy for the past month: today she uncloaks. She joins Andean Bureau Chief Luis Gómez, Webmaster Dan Feder, and I, in this nomadic “war machine outside the State” (a war machine, yes, to fight an authentic and just war) and we have big plans for your trilingual online newspaper named Narco News.
As Director of Strategy, Veloso – globally recognized as “Dri” of Indymedia in Latin America – is working full time with me in developing the next level of our hemispheric battle for Authentic Journalism to end the corrupt War on Drugs. A graduate of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, Veloso, 23, brings a very keen strategic mind and revolutionary work ethic to our team. The online newspaper that started out as a single laptop somewhere in a country called América is growing to provide you more reports on the drug war, on the media, and on democracy from Latin America. Stay tuned.
AS YOU CAN SEE FROM OUR REPORTS OF RECENT WEEKS, various of the graduates of the School of Authentic Journalism have been reporting to you on these pages… Alex Contreras from Cochabamba, Andrea Arenas from La Paz, Karine Muller from Rio de Janeiro and now São Paulo… others, like Ana Cernov of São Paulo and Zabeth Flores of Mexico City have done heroic and quality labor translating articles from Portuguese to Spanish to English and vice versa… Webmaster Dan Feder, six months now in a country called América, is translating Spanish – a language he has learned rapidly – to English… Luis Gómez and I continue our Spanish-English collaborations… Adriana Veloso – fluent in all three languages of our América – joins the fray… and I am trying to learn Portuguese… Together, with them, with you, with others, we will continue to break and destroy the information boundaries between peoples and nations.
LAST NIGHT, IN BRASILIA, the capital of this planet named Brasil, President Lula da Silva gathered his cabinet together not to make war, but, rather, to make music. He ordered his troops, “Listen, friends… Go to the bar. Go to the cinema. Don’t turn yourselves into machines, machines, machines, full time…”
There, at the Granja do Torto, the presidential cabinet took turns singing karaoke. Gilberto Gil – the legendary radical musician who openly resisted the military dictatorship in the 1960s, went to jail, went into exile, and now is the Minister of Culture for the Brazilian government – began the songfest, and other cabinet members, in loosened ties, followed, taking turns at the microphone, singing “As rosas não falam,” and “Tive, sim,” and “Velas do Mucuripe.”
Lula told Folha de São Paulo that taking power, since January, has been difficult. “I am more anguished. I have nights in which I am unable to sleep. I have insomnia. But this doesn’t get me down. It motivates me more.”
Does the popularly elected President of this country, unable to sleep, tense with the responsibilities of power, take out his frustrations on innocent civilians by declaring a war? No, he invites us not to become “machines, machines, machines,” but, rather, to sing.
Kind readers, Salón Chingón is alive and well here South of the Equator.
If the tyrants want war… then let the better song begin here.
From somewhere in a country called América,
The Narco News Bulletin
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